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Old 03-04-2013, 07:08 PM   #2251
Birdmove
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I also believe that the forward controls lesson cornering clearance. I don't like forwards. Both of the Sportsters I have owned, a new XL1000 I bought that year, and a used 2006 XL883 I rode for some years, had mid controls and long standard suspension. Cornering clearance was pretty decent on both. I worked at an HD dealer for five years and commuted on a very nice winding country road. A coworker followed me to work one day on his Nightster with me on my 2006 XL883. He couldn't begin to keep up and couldn't believe how fast I took the corners and how far I was able to lean that bike. It's in the length of the shocks, fork tubes, and other clearance items like footpegs, kickstand (I refuse to use the word "jiffystand" to describe a kickstand), etc. And, for the gent that couldn't understand why anyone would buy an 883 when there is a 1200 available, my 1984 got an average of 66 mpg (it was, of course, a 1000), and my 2006 XL883 on a longer trip on country highways got 65 mpg. The 883 would get like 45-52 around town. An 883 converted to a 1200 should be faster stoplight to stoplight as it has lower gearing. Why choose a 1200 over an 883 because it is faster? If that is the reasoning, then why buy a 1200 Sportster when there are so many other bikes that will beat it's ass in power, handling, brakes, etc? If that is your criterion in buying a motorcycle, then you wouldn't buy any Harley-Davidson.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:39 PM   #2252
Terrytori
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Mids... albeit fat ones.

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Old 03-04-2013, 07:56 PM   #2253
Randy
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Originally Posted by Birdmove View Post
I also believe that the forward controls lesson cornering clearance. I don't like forwards. Both of the Sportsters I have owned, a new XL1000 I bought that year, and a used 2006 XL883 I rode for some years, had mid controls and long standard suspension. Cornering clearance was pretty decent on both. I worked at an HD dealer for five years and commuted on a very nice winding country road. A coworker followed me to work one day on his Nightster with me on my 2006 XL883. He couldn't begin to keep up and couldn't believe how fast I took the corners and how far I was able to lean that bike. It's in the length of the shocks, fork tubes, and other clearance items like footpegs, kickstand (I refuse to use the word "jiffystand" to describe a kickstand), etc. And, for the gent that couldn't understand why anyone would buy an 883 when there is a 1200 available, my 1984 got an average of 66 mpg (it was, of course, a 1000), and my 2006 XL883 on a longer trip on country highways got 65 mpg. The 883 would get like 45-52 around town. An 883 converted to a 1200 should be faster stoplight to stoplight as it has lower gearing. Why choose a 1200 over an 883 because it is faster? If that is the reasoning, then why buy a 1200 Sportster when there are so many other bikes that will beat it's ass in power, handling, brakes, etc? If that is your criterion in buying a motorcycle, then you wouldn't buy any Harley-Davidson.
You mentioned "jiffystand", and since you worked at a H-D dealership maybe you can explain where that term comes from. I'd never heard it until I entered the H-D world.

I agree with everything you said except the last part. I own several bikes that do handle better, are faster, and have better brakes than a Sportster. But, I also own a Sportster for different reasons. And I enjoy it just as much. The reason I don't understand the 883 is that they are essentially the same bike except displacement and power. I can understand the logic in a smaller version of a bike if it's lighter, or handles better, but when it has the same weight and is essentially the same thing, only with less power? I don't feel the need for 195hp, but if I were buying a Ducati 1199 Panigale I wouldn't want to get a neutered version with only 100hp when I could have the same bike with more. Of course I will admit that fuel economy has never been a driving force in my motorcycle buying decision either.

And the same logic could be used to say that I should leave my 48 with short suspension and crappy two piston caliper. There are bikes with better brakes and more cornering clearance. So, if you want those things just go buy a different bike. That seems to be what the MOCO is saying actually since they no longer offer a "standard" Sportster. Trouble is, I wanted a Sportster. I just want one that handles and brakes somewhat like a modern motorcycle should. And I'll take the full displacement version, thank you.

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Old 03-04-2013, 08:42 PM   #2254
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The 883 is a fine, fine, under stressed motor. As it chomps at the bit less than the 1200 it is probably the better mill for urban congestion and for those who prefer a more relaxed pace. Having said that, I've never ridden an 883 that I didn't want to kick up to a 1200.

The idea that a Sportster is some kind of performance bike in any of it's stock iterations, with the exception of the 1200 XR, is a big stretch.

It's a runabout... with god's hand at your back down low and his hand on your chest at anything much above 65 mph.

The wonderful thing about Sporties is that the visceral experience they offer leads one to believe that they are moving more quickly than they actually are.

All that shaking and rattling and thunder as it climbs the tach ... it likely doesn't have... is its' real seduction. The Sporty just acts like most people ( non riders included) think a motorcycle should act.

There you are ... thinking you're bending the horizon something fierce and... WTF... some kid on a 250 Ninja just passes you on the outside of that tight right hander.

Ride an 883, ride a 1200, ride it feet forward or with what HD would like to pass off as mid pegs. It's a Sporty for fuck's sake. Nothing's going to happen in a hurry.

Chillax.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:45 AM   #2255
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Originally Posted by Terrytori View Post
The wonderful thing about Sporties is that the visceral experience they offer leads one to believe that they are moving more quickly than they actually are.

All that shaking and rattling and thunder as it climbs the tach ... it likely doesn't have... is its' real seduction. The Sporty just acts like most people ( non riders included) think a motorcycle should act.

There you are ... thinking you're bending the horizon something fierce and... WTF... some kid on a 250 Ninja just passes you on the outside of that tight right hander.

Ride an 883, ride a 1200, ride it feet forward or with what HD would like to pass off as mid pegs. It's a Sporty for fuck's sake. Nothing's going to happen in a hurry.

Chillax.
Very well put! It's this visceral experience, or as I usually put it, a bike with character or "soul", that lights my fire and makes me smile. It's also why, no matter how "good" they are, every time I get off of an inline four, I feel somehow let down and just "BLAH".

And you're right! For me it isn't about lap times and ultimate speed is unimportant. Nope, it's all about the visceral feel that the bike allows me to feel. There are quicker bikes to be sure, and there are slower ones too, but who really cares? If it's fun to ride and lets the stress of everyday life melt away as I go, then that's all that really matters.


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Old 03-05-2013, 06:45 AM   #2256
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I purchased my first sporty, a 2010 xl883n last summer with 600 miles on it. The previous owner was at least 6'4", and had installed forward controls. I'd never had forwards before, and was excited. I tend to experience quite a bit of knee discomfort after about 2 hours and thought this would be a good solution. It was, however I have noticed 2 major drawbacks: 1. Decreased handling......a lot. 2. On bumpy roads I feel like I'm being stabbed on the spine. On 2 occasions I had to pull of the road. I have the kids and am strongly considering putting them on.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:14 AM   #2257
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"feel like I'm being stabbed on the spine"

As an old guy with spine damage, I advise avoiding anything that does that!

I don't know about the newer Sportsters but traditionally HD fits these bikes with the most horrible oversprung shocks attainable. A cheap aftermarket shock like the Progressive 412 is big improvement in comfort and handling on rough roads. I'm using the excellent fully adjustable Showas that came on the 1200S model, these can be had on _bay for ~100-150, if you wait long enough.

Here's my bike. Like many on this thread I've owned many bikes in many genres. My Sportster has been around for 8 years now, far and away the record for me.

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Old 03-05-2013, 07:18 AM   #2258
Randy
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Originally Posted by bfd70 View Post
I purchased my first sporty, a 2010 xl883n last summer with 600 miles on it. The previous owner was at least 6'4", and had installed forward controls. I'd never had forwards before, and was excited. I tend to experience quite a bit of knee discomfort after about 2 hours and thought this would be a good solution. It was, however I have noticed 2 major drawbacks: 1. Decreased handling......a lot. 2. On bumpy roads I feel like I'm being stabbed on the spine. On 2 occasions I had to pull of the road. I have the kids and am strongly considering putting them on.
I could see someone with really long legs wanting forwards, but they still have disadvantages. I hate to say it, and some tall people may feel otherwise, but if you have really long legs, a Sportster, or any bike with a really low seat, may not be a good choice. specially if you have knee issues. Luckily I'm only 5'7" and have a 30" inseam so the Sportster fits me fine for what it is.

I feel your pain about the bumpy roads, and the decreased control that the forwards give. But, while the mids do allow you to lift your ass out of the seat if you see a bad bump coming, and they do, for me, make the seat more comfortable, they won't transform the stock lowered Sportster's shocks and forks into anything resembling good suspension. There are solutions for that too though.

One solution to your knee problem may be to do what I mentioned doing above... install the mids for the advantages they offer in handling on curvy roads and such, and then just add highway pegs back up front, so you can stretch your legs out to relieve your knees while just cruising down the highway. I've found that even a short spell of position change can do wonders for long term comfort. Another is vitamin I. Back when I used to ride my Ducati a lot, I had knee, shoulder and wrist pain on long rides. Duh! Rearsets and clip-ons... Didn't really bother me in the twisties, but droning down the highway did. I started taking Ibuprofen before setting out on a longer day-ride, and then I'd take some more a few hours later in the day. That pretty much allowed me to enjoy long days in the saddle much more than before.

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Old 03-06-2013, 08:30 AM   #2259
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Originally Posted by mojave View Post

Here's my bike. Like many on this thread I've owned many bikes in many genres. My Sportster has been around for 8 years now, far and away the record for me.

How does that air filter do in the rain? The rear half of the stock "airbox" is under my knee, kind of detracts from the whole slimness of the bike. I thought about something like that but I ride in the rain and I was concerned about it sucking in a lot of water.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:29 AM   #2260
fastdadio
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How does that air filter do in the rain? The rear half of the stock "airbox" is under my knee, kind of detracts from the whole slimness of the bike. I thought about something like that but I ride in the rain and I was concerned about it sucking in a lot of water.
Nice looking bike! I have an exposed K&N air filter on mine. Riding in normal rain situations has been no problem at all. If it gets to be a crazy down pour where visibility is next to impossible, I pull over and let it pass anyway. Read these links for more info;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_injection_(engines)
http://www.audiworld.com/tech/eng80a.shtml Just a few that a quick search brought up.
As you can see, small amouts of water being digested really isn't a problem. Just don't toss it in the river when it's running!
And to all you fellow Sportster lovers....
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:46 AM   #2261
pvt joker
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I just got a pair of sport shocks for mine as well. Working on getting them dialed in.

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Old 03-06-2013, 11:48 AM   #2262
JerryH
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For me the perfect riding position is 90/90 degrees (90 degrees at the waist, 90 degrees at the knees. On some bikes, like the Honda Rebel 250, that is simply not possible, because the seat and pegs are just to close together. Forward controls can be very comfortable as well, all it takes is a rider backrest, so you don't have to use your arms to pull yourself forward. Imagine sitting in a car seat with the back removed. It would be awful. Put the back on it, set the cruise control, and you can drive forever in comfort.

I want a Sportster for only one reason. Character. Of 46 bikes I have owned, only three I can remember had character, a '66 Triumph, a Suzuki GT380 2 stroke, and my current Genuine Stella 2 stroke. I don't plan to cross the country on it, just ride it around locally, would probably never get more than 500 miles from home. I want the basic simplicity (used to be the only thing Sportsters had that they didn't need was the "eyebrow" over the headlight) Anything else that you wanted you had to add yourself. I love the engine vibration, the off beat idle, and the powerful sound they have, even though it is a lot more sound than real power. They sound like thunder under full throttle acceleration. No other bike I know of (other than a Harley big twin, which I just can't afford) has those characteristics. My Vulcan 750 has the same 1/4 mile acceleration as the 1200 Sportster, but it is just too smooth and quiet. And as long as it is not dangerous, I don't really care about handling.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:57 AM   #2263
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blahblahblah ect...........
shaddup

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Old 03-06-2013, 02:09 PM   #2264
Randy
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How does that air filter do in the rain? The rear half of the stock "airbox" is under my knee, kind of detracts from the whole slimness of the bike. I thought about something like that but I ride in the rain and I was concerned about it sucking in a lot of water.
I have a Forcewinder intake on my Buell. I don't make it a practice to ride that bike in the rain if I can help it. Mainly because it takes too much work to clean and my GS is my foul weather, long distance, and two up bike. But, I did get caught out in a good rain once. After a few minutes the bike ran like crap. After the rain stopped it didn't take long for it too get back to normal though. The FW comes with a "rain sock" that supposedly lets air in and keeps water out. I've never put mine on because I've read that they do restrict airflow, but I do carry it with me just in case I get caught out in a longer rainstorm.

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"some might call it a 'midlife crisis', I prefer to call it a renaissance of thought and action"... "Life is too short to do anything other than that about which you are absolutely passionate."..."Adventure is a frame of mind, set upon by action, not defined by equipment."..."It all boils down to your ability to say "SCREW IT" and really mean it"....Randy

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Old 03-06-2013, 02:18 PM   #2265
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... I don't really care about handling.
All I can say is, WOW, and, to each their own!

That's akin to saying, "I don't care what she looks like as long as she can cook". Yeah, having a good cook may be important, but IMO, having a beauty that can cook is just that much better.

I mean, I can understand razor sharp, track weapon handling not being a first priority, but all else being equal, a well handling bike is so much more enjoyable to ride everywhere and all the time. Having owned 46 bikes I would have figured you would have discovered that by now.
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